Rules for entering Spain: COVID tests, vaccination rules and masks explained in detail

Spain has become one of the first EU countries to remove the need for symptomatic people to test and isolate themselves, as part of a further reduction in its Covid restrictions.

People with mild signs of the virus can now roam freely, although public health officials are asking them to be careful about socializing and wearing a mask outdoors.

This follows the return of unvaccinated teenagers from outside the EU last month and will provide further encouragement for those planning an Easter holiday in Spain.

With its sunny beaches, rich architectural heritage and delicious cuisine, there are many reasons why the Mediterranean nation was the second most visited country in the world before the pandemic. And, of course, the long-time favorite of British holidaymakers.

As the world adjusts to travelling abroad in the continuing era of COVID, Spain’s tourism sector is expected to grow to almost 90% of its 2019 size.

So, if you’re one of the many tourists eager to book a trip to Spain in 2022, here’s what you need to know.

What are the latest entry requirements for Spain?

In theory, tourists from other EU countries only need to fill in the Spanish form Sanitary control form within 48 hours of travel – providing any known history of exposure to COVID and contact details. This can be completed through the Spain Travel Health website or app – giving you a QR code – or you can hand in a paper version before boarding.

But those coming from a European country where COVID is more prevalent should provide additional information through the EU COVID Digital Certificate (EUDCC). There are currently 29 EU/EEA countries on the Spanish “risk” list, which is updated weekly here.

Visitors from these countries, including France, Germany and Italy, must use the EUDCC to present either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. For pre-departure testing, you can either take a PCR test up to 72 hours before arrival or an antigen test within 24 hours.

What counts as fully vaccinated in Spain?

In order to be considered fully immunized by the Spanish government, all travelers must have received their second shot at least 14 days before your trip.

You must be vaccinated with a full cycle of a WHO or EMA approved vaccine.

And since February 1, in line with other EU countries, Spain has set an expiration date of 270 days on vaccine passports. This means that booster shots will be needed if your second shot was more than nine months ago.

What are Spain’s rules on COVID vaccines and testing for UK travellers?

UK travelers must be fully vaccinated, meeting the same definition as above: with a vaccination certificate 14 days after the last dose. The Spanish authorities will accept the NHS COVID Pass to show it.

Testing is not required of double-bite Brits, but notes from the British Foreign Office that all travelers may be subject to additional checks at the point of entry.

spain Border health checks page suggests that if a temperature check at the airport (for example) has raised concerns, tourists could be contacted and required to take a PCR test at any time up to 48 hours after arrival.

Britons and other international travelers must also complete the health screening form – with slightly different rules for air and ferry travel explained here.

What are the rules for children and teenagers?

Children under 12 do not need to show proof of vaccination or undergo testing. This rule applies to all of Spain, including the Canary Islands and the Balearics.

However, they must have the health control form completed and signed on their behalf.

Since February 14, children aged 12 to 17 no longer need to be fully vaccinated and can enter Spain with a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Alternatively, fully vaccinated UK children aged 12 to 15 can prove their immunity with a NHS COVID pass letter for international travel.

What are Spain’s COVID rules in national contexts?

Rules vary from region to region in Spain, so it is important to check the exact requirements of where you are heading. You can search for the interactive map on the Spanish Tourist Board website Travel Safe website to find out if museums have a reduced capacity, or if nightclubs have set closing times, for example.

In some places you may need to show proof of vaccination to enter accommodation or other places; either the EUDCC or a valid and up-to-date NHS COVID Pass will do.

Are masks compulsory in Spain?

Spain dropped its strict outdoor mask-wearing rule from February 10. Thus, mid-term visitors do not need to hide in the streets (the beach was already an exception).

However, face coverings are still necessary in crowded outerwear where social distancing (of 1.5 meters) is not possible.

The indoor mask mandate is likely to remain in place until at least the summer and includes all closed public spaces – such as cafes, restaurants, cinemas, shops and bars – and public transport.

In a recent television interview, the director of Spain’s Balmis Vaccine Institute, Francisco Jiménez, said COVID rates must drop to 50 cases per 100,000 people before the end of indoor masks can be considered.